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Ontario premier announces shutdown of non-essential services

Last Updated Mar 23, 2020 at 7:49 pm PDT

FILE - Doug Ford speaking in Lucan, Ont., September, 2019. CITYNEWS
Summary

All non-essential services in Ontario will be forced to close for two weeks starting March 25

Grocery stores, pharmacies, and takeout restaurants will be allowed to stay open

The premier said the cap for the number of people gathering in groups will remain at 50

TORONTO – Ontario Premier Doug Ford has announced the shutdown of all non-essential services across the province in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“This order will be effective, March the 24 at 11:59 p.m. for 14 days,” he said.

He explained the days ahead of the shutdown will give non-essential workplaces the “chance to adapt and prepare.”

Grocery stores, pharmacies, and takeout restaurants will be allowed to stay open, as will essential manufacturer and supply chain providers. Ford said details on exactly which businesses will be impacted would be announced by the province on Tuesday

“This was a very, very tough decision, but it was the right decision,” he said. “This is not the time for half-measures. This decision was not made lightly, and the gravity of this order does not escape me.”

The 14 day timeline may be extended, if or as required.

“The health and safety of every Ontarian must come first, and that’s why we are taking these important steps,” Ford said, adding people have a big role to play, too. “If you can, please stay home. Only leave if necessary.”

The premier said the cap for the number of people gathering in groups will remain at 50, under the advice of medical authorities. However, he told people if they’re going for a walk, or hanging out, to go out by themselves or with their spouse or partner, making sure to practice social distancing by staying six feet apart.

Ford said he knows Ontarians will remain strong and vigilant through this time.

“We have your back, we will get through this together,” Ford said.

Ontario has become the first province to take the step of shutting down all non-essential services. Other provinces have implemented measures to try and stop the spread of COVID-19, but have stopped short of making the same move as Ontario.